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The Conductor

Andrew Scott – known to the Swing Bridge Singers as Scottee – was born in Africa and remains passionate about its music, its people and its wildlife. He was at schools in the UK from the age of eight, followed by a degree in English at Oxford – though much of his time was always spent making music. After working as an au pair and a National Insurance Inspector, with spells in a High Street toy department, a New Zealand wool store, a pub, the Royal Albert Hall and the Merchant Navy, he thought he had acquired enough experience to become a teacher. He has since taught every age from reception to sixth form, in Surrey, Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and North Tyneside. In the midst of this he spent six years at Sage Gateshead – as their first employee – creating their remarkable, innovative music education programme for the North East and Cumbria.


Andrew has run vocal groups at every school he has worked in: he built the Whitley Bay High choir to over 120 members, and during his time as head of music at Duchess’s High in Alnwick, the school boasted a School Choir, a show choir, a boys’ choir, a girls’ choir, a 6th Form choir and a staff choir, also presenting a major musical annually in the Alnwick Playhouse. He has been a consultant on primary and secondary school singing to the BBC, to Youth Music and to the DfES Music Manifesto, as well as being on the committee which created the national Sing Up project. Andrew was a finalist in the British Federation of Young Choirs/BT Award for a Conductor of Young Choirs and his choirs have won many accolades, including the Queen’s Silver Jubilee trophy, top prize at the National Festival of Music for Youth.

Andrew has conducted Royal Northern Sinfonia, Young Sinfonia and the National Children’s Orchestra, as well as a band featuring members of Lindisfarne, Dire Straits and AC/DC. He has conducted in a sold-out Royal Albert Hall and all three of London's South Bank concert halls, in six cathedrals, in Tivoli, Legoland and Euro-Disney and in Westminster Abbey – for a service broadcast planet-wide on the BBC World Service. He has directed a choir of over 4,000 children at the Newcastle Arena, following which he was made a ‘Hero of Northumberland’ by the Duke. He has conducted young choirs on Radios 1, 3 and 4, on four programmes of the Tyne-Tees series With Voices Raised, and on BBC TV’s Music Time, Saturday Superstore and Children in Need.

Andrew’s song Deep Sea has been sung at eight weddings, and his Meet in the Middle was written for (and performed at) the opening of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. He has had articles published in ­The Guardian, The Times Educational Supplement, BBC Wildlife and several music journals. His photo of the 1999 solar eclipse appeared in New Scientist magazine and his photo of a Chequered Skipper is to feature in the 2021 calendar of the European Butterflies Group. In 2013 he won BBC Wildlife’s ‘Travel Writer of the Year’ competition, having been a runner-up in 2009.  In 2018 he received the Lord Mayor's Award from the Lord Mayor of Newcastle.

In a life of many performances, he has enjoyed some interesting reviews: the Financial Times liked his acting, Sir Harry Secombe liked his singing (nicknaming him 'the underwater contralto' and dedicating a performance of If I Ruled the World to him), Indira Gandhi liked his dancing, and J.R.R.Tolkein liked his compositions, though an audience at the Bonn Summer Festival was once reduced to hysterics by his song introductions in German. He has been interviewed on Woman’s Hour and the Today programme, and has been quoted by a Labour Prime Minister in Parliament.

In 1982 he was Music Teacher magazine’s first national ‘School Music Teacher of the Year’.

He is married to Elspeth, a retired G.P. who plays violin and viola; their two children, Richard and Helen, are extremely musical and were both highly committed (and vital) Swing Bridge Singers.

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